Many are still reeling from the news of playright, author, activist, educator Amiri Baraka going home to the ancestors yesterday…Considered the father of the Black Arts Movement, the world lost a great treasure, a pioneering figure and inspiring individual who touched multiple generations all around the world, including here in the Bay Area where he had strong ties.
We gathered up some material to help people reflect on Baraka’s legacy and life. Hopefully it moves people to pause, reflect and build upon some of the artistic, political and philosophical endeavors he laid down.. All of us should be re-reading his ground breaking book Blues People which was written under his given name Leroi Jones.It is a key foundation to understand Black music and expression.
We should all go back and look at 1964 play The Dutchman which was an allegorical tale for race relations at the time and later made into a movie in 1967..
All of us she re-listen to his landmark poem on Black Art as he confronts a segregated hostile world and explains in no uncertain terms what Black Artists need to be doing to push the envelope and help reshape and redefine the world..
We should all remember how Amiri Baraka spent time in the SF Bay Area and was a part of the upheavel in 1968 at SF State where they launched a historic game changing Third World Strike. Here we see Baraka addressing students https://diva.sfsu.edu/collections/sfbatv/bundles/187241
All of us should look back and never forget the important role Amiri Baraka played in the organizing of the historic 1972 National Black Political Convention in Gary, Indiana and the more than 8 thousand people it attracted. We should never forget the calls for ‘Nation Time‘ It has all been erased from history..
(this entire Eye on the Prize episode is good, but to see the part of the National Black Political Convention go to 38 minutes into film)
All of us should take time out and look at the incredible interview Amiri Baraka did with the late great journalist Gil Noble.. This conversation gives a great overview on his life, his art, is disappointment with Spike Lee‘s movie on Malcolm X, forming a united front and so much more.
We should all go back and re-listen to Amiri Baraka’s post 9-11 poem ‘Somebody Blew Up America ‘ where he defiantly spits reality to why a terrorist attack really took place in America. At the time he was the poet laureate of New Jersey… A law had to be passed to remove him because of this poem..
One of my most cherished moments was the interview we did with Amiri Baraka for Free Speech TV during a recent visit to Oakland’s Eastside Arts Alliance
Below is the podcast to our Hard Knock Radio on air tribute upon learning of Baraka’s death. Our special guest is Professor/ author Rickey Vincent who gives us a thorough breakdown of his legacy